When do the NHL playoffs start? Schedule, standings, odds for 2019 Stanley Cup chase

The 2018-19 NHL regular season is drawing to a close, and while some teams are in full “Lose for Hughes” mode, others are gearing up for a playoff run.

Every team still in the race is within a few points of their closest competitor, except for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who handily clinched the Presidents’ Trophy. Is this the year Steven Stamkos and Co. lift the Stanley Cup? Or will Joe Thornton end his Hall of Fame career with one last trophy?

Only time will tell who this year’s playoff heroes and losers will be.

Below are the latest NHL standings, along with odds, projections, and everything else there is to know as the 2018-19 season nears its end.

When do the 2019 NHL playoffs start?

The last day of the NHL regular season is Saturday, April 6, with 15 games on the slate. The schedule for the first round will be released Sunday at 10 a.m. on NHL.com and NHL Network and the 2019 playoffs begin April 10.

How do the Stanley Cup playoffs work?

Eight teams in each conference qualify. Each best-of-seven series is played in a 2–2–1–1–1 format, and the winners advance to the next round.

In the first round, the top seed in each conference plays the second wild card winner while the other division winner plays the first wild card. In each division, the second and third place teams battle it out to see who will advance to the conference semifinals. 

Teams that advance to the conference semifinals face off against the remainder of their bracket to determine who will play in the conference final.

NHL standings

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Record Points Games left
p-Tampa Bay Lightning 61-16-4 126 1
x-Boston Bruins 49-23-9 107 1
x-Toronto Maple Leafs 46-28-7 99 1
Metropolitan Record Points Games left
y-Washington Capitals 48-25-8 104 1

x-New York Islanders

47-27-7 101 1
x-Pittsburgh Penguins 44-26-11 99 1
Wild Card Record Points Games left
x-Carolina Hurricanes 45-29-7 97 1

x-Columbus Blue Jackets

46-31-4 96 1
z-Montreal Canadiens 43-30-8 94 1
z-Florida Panthers 36-32-13 85 1
z-Philadelphia Flyers 37-36-8 82 1
z-New York Rangers 31-36-14 76 1
z-Detroit Red Wings 32-39-10 74 1
z-Buffalo Sabres 32-39-10 74 1
z-New Jersey Devils 30-41-10 70 1
z- Ottawa Senators 29-46-6 64 1

Western Conference

Central Record Points Games left
x- Nashville Predators 46-29-6 98 1
x-Winnipeg Jets 46-30-5 97 1
x-St. Louis Blues 44-28-9 97 1
Pacific Record Points Games left
y-Calgary Flames 50-24-7 107 1
x-San Jose Sharks 45-27-9 99 1
x-Vegas Golden Knights 43-31-7 93 1
Wild Card Record Points Games left
x-Dallas Stars 42-32-7 91 1
x-Colorado Avalanche 38-29-14 90 1
z-Arizona Coyotes 39-34-8 86 1
z-Chicago Blackhawks  36-33-12 84 1
z-Minnesota Wild 37-35-9 83 1
z-Vancouver Canucks 35-36-10 80 1
z-Anaheim Ducks 34-37-10 78 1
z-Edmonton Oilers 30-41-9 77 1
z-Los Angeles Kings 30-41-9 69 2

p-clinched Presidents’ Trophy

x-clinched playoff spot

y-clinched division


NHL playoff picture: Potential Round 1 matchups

Here’s how the 2019 Stanley Cup playoff’s first-round series would look if the season ended today.

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Western Conference

Calgary Flames vs. Colorado Avalanche
San Jose Sharks vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars
Winnipeg Jets vs. St. Louis Blues

Last updated April 5

Updated odds to win the 2019 Stanley Cup

Team Odds*
Tampa Bay Lightning 9/4
Vegas Golden Knights 8/1
San Jose Sharks 10/1
Calgary Flames 10/1
Washington Capitals 10/1
Boston Bruins 12/1
St. Louis Blues 12/1
Nashville Predators 12/1
Winnipeg Jets 12/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 16/1
Toronto Maple Leafs 20/1
Carolina Hurricanes 30/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 30/1
Dallas Stars 30/1
New York Islanders 40/1
Colorado Avalanche 50/1
Montreal Canadiens 80/1


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